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Popcorn & A Movie

Adam Elliott blogs about movies, cinema life and other goofy things.

Posts from June 2012

Movie Review: Abraham Lincoln- Vampire Hunter
Rated R

I didn’t think I was going to like taking a well known historical figure and surrounding him with an absurdly fictitious story, but I did.   Based on the book of the same name, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sinks its teeth into the story of our 16th President, taking a few liberties here and there.
To view this film like a horror movie would be a mistake.  It’s not scary.  It doesn’t have too dark of a tone.  It’s absurd, but there is something that kept me watching. AL:VH does succeed in telling what is already a good story that we know from our history books and adds new details and timelines.  It also turns Lincoln into an axe swinging badass, with mixed martial arts skills.   Hold on, it gets worse.
From a young age, Lincoln seeks revenge on a vampire that killed his mother.  He finds the aid of a self-hating vampire who teaches him how to properly dispatch the living dead.  Honest Abe also finds some trusted friends along the way to help him, all while aspiring to greatness and the whole presidential thing on the side.
Abraham Lincoln is played by Benjamin Walker, who may be more famous at this point for being the son in law of Meryl Streep.  His name is secondary to Producer Tim Burton.   He and Director Timur Bekmambetov have created action sequences that are unlike anything else I’ve seen lately.
While the historical liberties were acceptable, I didn’t like how vampires in this film broke the traditional rules of vampirism.  For some reason these guys can walk around in daylight and die at the mere touch of something silver.  Summation: these vampires suck.
I suppose though, it’s fun to take a deeper look inside the lives of our historical figures.  We know what they did to change the world, but what did their daily lives look like.  Filling in those details is what makes this entertainment.  Who knows?  Rutherford B. Hayes could have been killing zombies in his spare time. 
Now I have a sequel to pitch.  My history prof is weeping this day.

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Movie Review: Prometheus
Rated R

I think that Prometheus is the type of movie that sci-fi junkies will love and debate for a long time to come.  There are giant ideas thrown out there.  The problem is that we are left with more questions than answers.
Prometheus takes place about 80 years in the future.  A team of scientists discover a star chart of sorts on earth, and believe it’s a sign to come and find the makers of humankind.   They find something gigantic and amazing in scope and in discovery.
They find beings (called Engineers) that seem to match our DNA. But did they actually make humans?  They seem like us, minus a tan and 50 years of fast food exposure.   They also find that it's probably a good idea to take weapons with you on an alien planet.  I found the surgery machine that operates like the coin operated claw game at the arcade to be my favorite discovery.   
We eventually find out that Prometheus appears to be the prequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise, which is fine.  They’re not reinventing the story and adding floppy eared creatures that sound like they’re from Jamaica.  Prometheus only adds depth to the mythos.
What I think was missing was the fright factor.  1979’s Alien had it right.  A scary thing attaches to your face.  Later it jumps out of the shadows to eat you.  The potential threat to humankind was there in Prometheus.  That audience terror was lacking.

The film does allow the mind to wonder about what all of these encounters mean.  That's mostly because there's not a lot of explanation of them.  It's just story driven by the human desire to ask questions.
Careful, spoilers ahead:
To get extra nerdy and critical, here’s what I choose to pick apart. 

1. Why would the Engineers create humans, only to want to destroy them?  Seems like waste of time. 
2. Android technology in the original 1979 Alien seemed sketchy.  That film took place in 2122.  Prometheus takes place around 2090.  The androids here seem to be operating fine, even contemplating complex human emotions like freedom.    Did we take a step backwards in their tech?
3.  Where was the DVR? While two crew members have to fend for themselves, the captain takes an, ahem, “break” with Charlize Theron. While they meet a horrible fate, with video cameras entact, the captain returns and wonders what happened to the two guys.  Well…check the tape!

While hordes of acid-reflux inducing questions are asked, few answers are given.  That left me with a bit of an empty feeling, like I just watched a setup for the next Prometheus film.

Dear Hollywood,

It's OK to tell a story from beginning to end in one film. 



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